Plan your herb garden with this one simple strategy.
I’m an experimenter with things I love like gardening, health, and food. No wonder my latest venture is to start an herb garden.
Herbs for taste for cooking and therapeutic and medicinal natural remedies. How can I benefit the health of my family and me as well as our chickens, turkeys, and pigs? Herbs for the horses and sheep I’ll leave for later.
A herb garden is easier to establish than a vegetable garden or even a flower garden. Herbs grow well with little care and without much water. A sunny spot in a pot with other plants or by themselves and they’ll be fine.
The herbs I grow for the kitchen are parsley for all of the salads, a sprinkling on the carrots when friends arrive, some mint for the Pims and Gin and Tonic. Rosemary for the roast lamb and mint for the sauce, tarragon for the eggs and basil, the perfect companion for tomatoes picked fresh for summer salads or winter pasta sauce.
Why Grow Herbs You’re Never Going to Use?
Nothing too fancy, and keep it simple. The key message here is to grow a few herbs to suit the food you eat.
There is no reason to buy the full range of herbs from your nursery as seeds or seedlings. Forget fennel, oregano, thyme, mustard, and others if you won’t use them. Start with what you like and then move on to more one your success is established.
Here are the herbs that go well with different foods. You might be a vegan, meat eater, egg lover or fisherman. There is something for everyone on this list.
My herb garden turned into the most significant success of any gardening project that I have ever attempted. I feel pretty good about my progress, and I have loved adding fresh herbs to many of the meals, bread, biscuits, and cakes I make all year.
My best three natural to grow and versatile herb for almost any occasion.
Chives are the perfect substitute for onions for a more subtle flavor and for people with fructose intolerance.
The flowers are gorgeous and make a stunning and edible decoration to savory foods. Don’t be tempted to add the flowers to a dessert unless you want to impart and onion flavor.
Chives love the sun as all Mediterranean herbs enjoy. About 6 hours most days will suit them well with a bit of afternoon shade in the summer.
As for most herbs, plant chive seedlings in the fertile and well-drained soil, The especially love humus made from composting. They are perfect in a container near the kitchen. Make sure you keep the water to them in the growing and summer season.
For cooking, add chives once the heat is off. Otherwise, the flavor disappears. Make a delicious chive butter for baked potatoes or steak.
Chive Butter Recipe
125g/4oz salted butter
4 TB chopped chives
1 TB Lemon Juice
Wizz together with a blender or mixer, cover and cool in the fridge.
Chives are a good value for money perennial with a harvest generated every year. To cut chives, leave an inch above the ground so they can re grow. Around the third year, if you have kept them well fed and moist and have survived, divide the plants, re-pot, plant in the garden or give to friends.
Beware though, as all of the Allium family of plants including, chives, leeks, garlic, and onions are poison to both dogs and cats. Think when you give your pets the garlicky bolognaise sauce to finish off. They may be sick, sleep a lot, get diarrhoea and pant more than usual. Best to take them to the Vet to get them checked out if you are worried
Mint has a place on my top three because it is hard to kill and it suits, sweet, savory foods as well as drinks.
Just love my gin and tonic sitting under a 500-year-old red gum in the summer evening. Boys swimming in the waterhole, BBQ tea as the sun goes down. Nothing better and can’t wait for the heat of summer again.
Back to mint, yes another versatile must have container herb. It must be in a container as it loves to spread everwhere and is very invasive. Perhaps the only place you’ll want mint to spread is in the veggie patch.
Mint deters little critters eating the holes in your leafy greens. The brassica family like mint around for this reason so plant mint with your cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, and broccoli.
If you are worried about the mint taking over and spreading into the garden, place a container in the veggie patch and remove after the growing season. Make the pot of mint a feature because in the summer it will keep the aphids away from the tomatoes as well as the roses.
There is nothing more delicious than lamb, or usually mutton which is from an older sheep and potatoes slow roasted over many hours. The meat falls from the bone, and when mixed with springs of rosemary it’s the best a winter treat.
Lamb chops on the BBQ and brushed with rosemary freshly picked from the garden shoes your friends what a genuine culinary MasterChef you are.
Rosemary is a member of the mint family, along with basil, oregano, thyme and many others. Its ideal growing environment is similar to other members of this botanical family: It prefers a warm, sunny spot in well-drained soil.
As a member of the mint family, rosemary is another herb that thrives on neglect. A little water in the summer and some feeding in the spring is all it needs. It doesn’t like snow and for these climates, grow in a pot and bring into a shelter in the frosty and freezing temperatures.
You can pick the leaves all year for your home cooking; you can’t do too much damage from harvesting without being too greedy.
To harvest, pinch off the sprigs you need. Rosemary keeps in the fridge for a week and can be frozen infused in oil for grilling or broiling meats. When infused in water it makes an excellent hair tonic for dark hair, for fair hair use chamomile rinse for an exceptional occasion shine.
There many ways to use rosemary in the indoor and outdoor kitchen. Mix with BBQ sauce, olive oil, garlic, crushed rosemary, and honey with soy sauce for a delicious marinade for steaks. For chicken cooked in the oven or BBQ rotisserie, wedge underneath the skin of with butter and lemon.
Growing an Herb Garden can become overwhelming once you start researching what to build. Most books and online sources describe so many different herbs it’s hard to choose where to start. If you’re like me, I think, “where to start,” close the book and forget until I’m inspired once more.
So I took a step forward and thought what types of foods form our basics at home and what are the ten common herbs for these foods.
To overcome herb garden overwhelm, choose the best ten herbs to suit your family and get planting in the garden, containers or both.
We’ve covered chives, rosemary, and mint here. For more ideas for herbs take a look at an article on dill, “Add Depth to Your Flavors with this Favorite Herb.”
Preserving your herb harvest and all fruits and vegetable is a must to gain the ROI, ie, the Return on Investment of your time when gardening. Here is another article to help “Preserving Your Herb, Vegetable and Gardening Harvest.”